Hoffenheim vs Hertha BerlinGerman Bundesliga, KO: 14:30 May 16, 2020, Rhein-Neckar-Arena
BRUNO LABBADIA will finally get the chance to make his dugout debut as Hertha Berlin boss when he leads his side into action against Hoffenheim.
The former German international took charge in April but has been forced to endure a frustrating wait for his first game due to the coronavirus lockdown.
He's Hertha's fourth coach during a season of upheaval, with Ante Covic, Jurgen Klinsmann and Alexander Nouri all failing to last more than a few months.
Klinsmann moved back upstairs after leaving the dugout, but his place on the club's supervisory board has now been taken by former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann.
Going into the Bundesliga resumption, Hertha sits just six points clear of Fortuna Dusseldorf who occupy the relegation play-off spot so Labbadia will need to hit the ground running.
A trip to ninth-placed Hoffenheim looks like a tricky first assignment but Alfred Schreuder's men were in poor form before the lockdown.
Hoffenheim were on a six-game run without a win when Germany's top flight was halted, losing four of those matches, so Hertha will be hoping that poor form continues.
But the Berlin club were also out of sorts before the shutdown, winning just once in seven games, so a stalemate might be the value bet.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to head
Hoffenheim have bossed this fixture in recent seasons, going eight games unbeaten against Hertha, whose last win came way back in 2015. Five of those eight games ended in Hoffenheim wins, the most recent a 3-2 thriller in Berlin earlier this season (below).
Last season, Hoffenheim won this fixture 2-0 at home while the clash in the capital was an incredible 3-3 draw.
Players to watch
Hoffenheim are missing plenty of firepower with star Croatian forward Andrej Kramaric and Israeli international Munas Dabbour set to miss out with injuries.
In their absence, Ihlas Bebou will probably lead the line but the Togo striker only has four goals to his name all season. So I'm more tempted to back midfielder Christoph Baumgartner for a goal, given he has four from his last 11 games. The Austrian is 12/5 with 888Sport for a goal.
Krzysztof Piatek has scored twice in seven games for Hertha since his move from AC Milan and the Pole looks a good shout for a goal here at 6/4 with Paddy Power. He's a boosted 5/1 with the same firm to break the deadlock if you fancy a flutter on that.
Anything else catches the eye
I tipped goals in the Frankfurt v Monchengladbach game and I can see there being a few fireworks in this one too. There have been five goals or over in two of the last three games between these sides so go for over 2.5 strikes at 4/5 with Bet365.
For a long-odds option, former Celtic stopper Dedryck Boyata is 12/1 with Skybet to score a header and that could be worth a punt given the Belgian has netted three times already this season.
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Posch, Akpoguma, Hübner (c) – Kaderabek, Rudy, Grillitsch, Samassekou, Skov – Bebou, Baumgartner
Out: Adamyan (ankle), Belfodil (knee), Esser (not included), Kramaric (ankle)
Coach: Alfred Schreuder
Hertha: Jarstein – Klünter, Stark (c), Boyata, Mittelstädt – Skjelbred, Grujic, Maier – Cunha – Piatek, Dilrosun
Out: Darida (suspended), Kalou (not included), Rekik (knee)
Coach: Bruno Labbadia
This German Bundesliga match between Hoffenheim and Hertha Berlin will be played on May 16, 2020 and kick off at 14:30. Check below for our tipsters best Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin prediction.